What to do in Lisbon (recommended by locals)

First, if you’re coming to Lisbon, welcome! 🙂
This guide has some of our recommendations for the city and surroundings. Feel free to comment or ask us about any extra tips.

 

Go & Explore

In Lisbon

Check out the downtown area around Rossio, Rua Augusta, and Praça do Comércio. You can access the terrace at the top of the arch between Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio.

And definitely, go to Bairro Alto at night. The center of Lisbon’s nightlife. You can use Elevador de Santa Justa to go from downtown to Bairro Alto.

Walk up to Castelo de São Jorge and have a nice and different view over Lisbon at the cool Café Noobai. If your legs are still alive, walk around the most traditional streets in Alfama and visit Museu do Fado, where you can learn about Fado‘s history, our Portuguese music genre.

Avenida da Liberdade is our version of NY’s 5th Avenue (but waay prettier!), and the best spot in town for fancy shopping.

You should also definitely go to Belém. You can take a train or a tram there. Once you’re there start by having a Pastel de Belém with a café (do not miss this 🙂 ). Then walk around a bit and visit Mosteiro dos JerónimosTorre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos. You’ll get a nice view of the Tejo River and of the famous 25 de Abril Bridge that looks like the Golden Gate from San Francisco. You can also visit the new suspension viewpoint at the bridge.

Visit LX Factory either in a calm morning or for a night out. An old factory in a very trendy location with hip stores, restaurants, and bars.

If you have time, explore the area of Parque das Nações. Modern part of Lisbon. Don’t miss our amazing Oceanário.

For more info about Lisbon check out the website www.visitlisboa.com and www.lisboacard.org.

In Sintra

Spend one day in Sintra. Choose the day with the best weather predictions. Sintra is famous for its own microclimate. This guide has the main spots.

Palácio Nacional de Sintra. From here you should explore the little village in front of the palace. Go to the small traditional café called Piriquita and try a Queijada de Sintra or a Travesseiro (or, preferentially, both!).

Quinta da Regaleira. 2/3 minutes walking from the first stop you will find Quinta da Regaleira. It is a beautiful garden that you should visit it if the weather is nice.

Castelo dos Mouros. Great to visit with nice weather, amazing views if the sky is clear. If you prefer hiking and outdoors, this is the spot to visit in Sintra. You can also go up there by tuc-tuc.

Palácio da Pena. This one you should definitely go. The second most beautiful palace in Europe from the outside (my opinion).

Cabo da Roca. The westernmost point of Europe. Cool to see the sunset from there but you would have to find a bus there as it is 15 minutes away from downtown Sintra.

Go & Taste

Foods you should try

Dishes

Bacalhau (codfish). The most common dishes are: bacalhau à brás, bacalhau com natas, bacalhau à zé do pipo, bacalhau à minhota… but we have hundreds of different dishes with bacalhau.

Octopus. There’s also a good variety of dishes with octopus. Polvo à lagareiro is a must!

Grilled sardines, or any fresh seasonal fish. Sardines only during summer, but any fresh local fish during all year (robalo, sargo, salmonente, linguado, pregado, …).

Pork. We are known for eating every single part of the pork. Grilled secretos or plumas with a side salad would be a great meal.

Alheira. A typical sausage. We also have Farinheira, Chouriço and Linguiça. Just try all of them! You can order it as appetizers in typical restaurants.

Açorda de marisco or arroz de marisco (seafood with bread or rice).

Cheese. Have you ever heard about French cheese? Just forget it and embrace any Portuguese cheese (from Serpa, Nisa, Serra, Ilha, etc). We have really good with cheeses. C’est une merveille.

Francesinha. More common in Porto, so not all restaurants in Lisbon can cook it well. Restaurant Lucimar is one of the good ones.

Salty snacks

Pastel de bacalhau.
Rissol (with meat or fish filling).
We have great cheese from different regions, some of the most typical are: queijo de Seia, queijo de Azeitão, queijo da Ilha. 
Caldo verde. Typical kale soup. It usually contains chorizo.
Seafood, in general, is very good (clams, prawns, mussels, …).
Olives, in general, are very good.

Sweets

Pastel de Belém in Belém, or pastel de nata in any local coffee.
Bola de berlim with cream! Our better version of doughnuts.
Travesseiro de Sintra. Only in Sintra.
Queijada de Sintra. Only in Sintra.
Torta de Azeitão.
Arroz doce.  Rice pudding with cinnamon on top.
Pudim caseiroHomemade flan pudding.

Drinks

Portuguese wine from any region.
Port wine, especially of the type that is hard to find abroad like white port.
Ginginha shot. A Portuguese liqueur made with ginga berries (sour cherries). Sold all over the city. Goes really good in a chocolate cup.
Sangria in a good place. Good for a warm day. Made with wine, fruits, and ice.
Caipirinha. A Brazilian drink that is very popular.
Gin & tonics are also very popular, but they are served differently (order one and see!).

Restaurants

Most used app by locals in Lisbon is Zomato (you can follow Há Sol e Mar @zomato).

Typical Portuguese

Solar dos Presuntos [website] [zomato]

Horta dos Brunos [website] [zomato]

Bairro do Avillez [website] [zomato] [há sol e mar]

Maria Azeitona [website] [zomato] Outside of Lisbon. You’ll need to go by car.

Fish & Seafood

A Cevicheria [website] [zomato] Or any of the restaurants from Chef Kiko, really.

Rabo d’Pêxe [website] [zomato] You can pick a whole fish and ask the chef to prepare it any way you want! For example, half sashimi and half grilled. Really amazing fresh fish!

Mar do Inferno [website] [zomato]

Furnas do Guincho [website] [zomato]

Pesqueiro 25 [website] [zomato]

Peixola [website] [zomato]

Ramiro [website] [zomato]

Meat

O Talho [website] [zomato] Another great restaurant from Chef Kiko. Really good tartar!

Volver de Carne y Alma [website] [zomato]

Nogueira’s Lisboa [website] [zomato]

Atalho Real [website] [zomato]

Sala de Corte [website] [zomato]

View

Rio Maravilha [website] [zomato] The food is OK (I’d call it Brazilian fusion) but the view from the terrace is great! Great place for a cocktail around sunset.

Sky bar [website] [zomato] Another great view with nice cocktails in the city center.

Trendy

1300 Taberna [website] [zomato] Great food in a very trendy location, LX Factory. Typical Portuguese ingredients with a twist.

JNcQUOI [website] [zomato]

Loco [website] [zomato]

Alma [website] [zomato]

El Corte Inglês – Gourmet Experience [website] An upscale food court with restaurants from Portuguese and international chefs. There is also a gourmet market. Terrace with great city views.

Belcanto [website] [zomato] Michelin star restaurant. We never tried it. If you do, please let us know your experience 🙂

Wine

BA Wine Bar [website] [zomato] Great for wine tasting, a very nice location to walk in the evening (we haven’t been there in a few years, so I’m not sure how touristy it become since then).

By the Wine [website] [zomato]

Wine not? [website] [zomato]

Breakfast, Brunch & Coffee

Bettina e Niccòlo Corallo [website] [zomato] Great for a good expresso and a delicious piece of chocolate.

Other random tips

Uber works well and is cheap.

Avoid restaurants with pictures on the menu (they are targeted for tourists and usually are not very good price/quality).

A lot of the landmarks are within walking distance, so walking is usually recommended (the architecture is amazing), but there are a lot of hills, so bring comfortable shoes.

The airport is really close to the city center (do not be scared when you land) and it has a  subway station.

Useful words

Hello > Olá
Goodbye > Adeus
Good morning > Bom dia
Good afternoon > Boa tarde
Good evening/night > Boa noite
Please > Por Favor
Thank You > Obrigado (for boys), Obrigada (for girls)
You’re welcome > De nada
I’m sorry > Desculpe
Excuse me > Com licença
Yes > Sim
No > Não